9 years ago
January 15, 2016

8 Top Sales Skills Your Sales Team Needs to Succeed in 2016

To get the best sales team—one that will succeed in the year to come—make sure the sales professionals you hire have these top sales skills. Read on.

Rhys Metler


Sales is a constantly changing industry. Though some of the top sales skills required for success remain the same, others continue to evolve and progress. Only those sales professionals with the right skills will find themselves in a lucrative career. Luckily, though, sales skills can be learned.

If your sales people don’t have the top sales skills described below, you can coach them to create top-performing sellers in 2016.

1. Research Skills

When it comes to sales, knowledge is power. The more your sales people know about their clients, the better they can meet their needs. Offering a client a product he has no use for, one that he already has, or one that doesn’t meet his budget won’t turn into a sale. It’ll be a waste of time. The best sales team is one that knows how to research customer needs. 

2. Qualifying Skills

Speaking of wasting time, your sales team must know how to properly qualify leads in order to maximize time spent with clients. A customer who just isn’t ready to buy—and perhaps never will be—shouldn’t be approached by your sales team. Your reps’ time will be better spent on the right clients if they know how to identify sales-ready leads.

3. Listening Skills

If your sales team needs any of the top sales skills it’s knowing how to listen. This is key to closing deals. The top-performing reps are the ones who listen empathetically to their clients without an ulterior motive. They sincerely want to know what their clients want and need, so they can better meet their needs. They don’t spend the majority of their sales calls talking—they actively listen instead.

4. Relationship-Building Skills

People will not buy from your sales people without establishing a relationship first. Customers buy from reps they like and trust. The best sales team will prioritize relationship building and maintenance, since it’s one of the top sales skills that will lead to increased sales.

5. Problem-Solving Skills

Poor sales people will give up once a problem arises, such as not being able to reach a decision maker or having a client who won’t commit. But the best sales people have the problem-solving skills required to think of new and innovative ways to fix the issues and make the sale.

6. Collaboration Skills

Many sales people are known as lone wolves, and although it works for some, it can also be a hindrance, especially if you’ve implemented inbound marketing. A great sales team will collaborate with marketing and other departments to generate more leads, nurture prospects, and close deals. Sales and marketing are now more aligned than ever, and the best sales team will not fight against collaboration, but rather, will embrace it.

7. Social Selling Skills

Social selling skills are going to be increasingly important in 2016. Your sales people will spend more of their time building relationships and interacting with prospects on social media. They need to understand how social selling works, the do’s and don’ts, and the best practices in order to effectively use this selling tool.

8. Content Development Skills

Content is key in 2016. Although your sales people might not actually write any of the marketing content, they need to be involved in the creation process in order to help marketing come up with the best content that will attract and entice leads, effectively nurture prospects, and close deals since they’re the ones who know the customers best. However, if they’re great writers, they should start writing their own blog posts and share entries on social media in order to become thought leaders—subject-matter experts that customers will trust.

If your sales people have these top sales skills, you’re in luck—you’ll probably find yourself with a very successful year ahead. If not, it’s time to get to work and start coaching to improve performance.


Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.